Background: Partially hydrolysed guar gum (Benefiber) added to a diet is fermented in the colon, producing short chain fatty acids, which improve intestinal function, including colonic salt and water absorption.
Aims: To evaluate the effect of Benefiber supplemented comminuted chicken diet in the treatment of persistent diarrhoea.
Methods: One hundred and sixteen children (aged 5–24 months), presenting to Dhaka Hospital with a history of watery diarrhoea for more than 14 days (persistent diarrhoea), were randomised to receive either: (1) comminuted chicken diet with Benefiber (study diet); or (2) comminuted chicken diet without Benefiber (control diet). The study period was seven days.
Results: Of 116 children, 57 received the study diet and 59 received the control diet. Diarrhoea resolved in a greater number of children with the study than with the control diet (46/55 (84%) v 36/58 (62%); odds ratio 3.12, 95% CI 1.19 to 8.4). Survival analysis for the duration of diarrhoea also showed a reduced duration of diarrhoea in children receiving the study diet. There was also a trend in daily stool reduction in children receiving the study diet, significant on days 4–7.
Conclusion: Results show that Benefiber supplemented comminuted chicken diet enhances recovery of children with persistent diarrhoea, indicating its therapeutic potential.
- ICDDR, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research
- ORS, oral rehydration solution
- PHGG, partially hydrolysed guar gum
- SCFA, short chain fatty acid
- partially hydrolysed guar gum
- persistent diarrhoea
- comminuted chicken diet
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Funding: Novartis Nutrition supported the study, including the patients’ study costs and partial salary of the research staff involved in the study.
Competing interests: HS is an employee of Novartis Nutrition.
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